Online Startup Receives $6 Million in Funding

Quirky can be innovative. Just ask the founders of (a startup that literally crowdsources innovation by asking users to submit design ideas and then using the wisdom of the crowd to refine and market the new product).

Being Quirky puts entrepreneur Ben Kaufman on the map.

According to Fast Company (@fastcompany), Quirky (@quirkyinc) (though initially consider a bit too “quirky” to be relevant by the business publication) has been awarded $6 million in Series A investment funding. Not bad for the oddball company that had to prove its relevance and, even more challenging, prove that being different is still worth gambling on.

Their company, service and website is so compelling that I’ve included the pitch and description of what Quirky actually does from their website:

“Everyone has a product idea…

Chances are, you do too. Several years ago, our entrepreneur-in-chief, Ben, launched two successful businesses based on this premise: mophie, an iPod/iPhone accessories line, and kluster, an online group decision-making platform.

While running these companies, he received literally thousands of emails from people all over the world asking the same question: I have an idea for a product and think you can help me get it out of my head and into the marketplace. How do I start?

The truth is, neither mophie nor kluster were created to answer that question. They did, however, uncover the solution to bringing virtually any product idea to life. Part platform, part process, Quirky is rapidly changing the way people think about product development by using a unique method to harness the power of creativity.”

Fast Company calls Quirky “the most interesting experiment in how products are designed and produce in recent memory.” It’s not only a social experiment, it’s the brainchild of an entrepreneur who had not even graduated college yet when the company was launched.

Quirky’s founder (23 year old Ben Kaufman@benkaufman) founded and launched Quirky in June 2009 with $1.6 million donated from friends and family (a cushion most entrepreneurs can only dream of). Now, with 20,000 users on its website and 12 products manufactured from its crowdsourcing design factory, the company is ready to move into the major leagues with funding from several VC firms (including RRE Ventures, Village Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, and Lowercase Capital) and unnamed angel investors. The Fast Company article can be found here.

Score one for the scrappy and quirky one-year old startup.

Betsy Shulman
The Elephant Entrepreneur

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